On the occasion of Vijay Diwas on 26th July, the entire nation will commemorate the sacrifices of Indian heroes during 1999 Kargil war.
It was an armed conflict that was fought between India and Pakistan and took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC).
The Kargil war, which began in May 1999, lasted for more than two months before Pakistani soldiers withdrew from the mountain tops they had occupied overlooking the Srinagar-Leh highway. In the conflict, the Indian Army lost over 500 officers, soldiers and jawans.
As India will observe the 18th Kargil Diwas on 26th of this month, we look back at sagas of 'immortal' heroes of Kargil war:
Here are the sagas of immortal heroes of Kargil war:
1. Captain Anuj Nayyar (Maha Vir Chakra awardee)
It was 7 July 1999 when Capt. Anuj Nayyar was martyred while battling for nation. The 24-years-old jawan selflessly sacrificed his life for the nation and left behind his fiancée whom he was in love with for a decade.
During the war, it was the Captain’s mission to secure Point 4875, known as Pimple 2. During the initial phase of the attack, the platoon sustained major injuries.
In the aftermath, it was split into two, one of which was led by Capt. Anuj Nayyar. He killed 9 Pakistani soldiers and successfully destroyed three medium machine gun bunkers. However, while clearing the fourth bunker, an enemy grenade fell directly on the Captain.
Despite being injured at that time, Anuj fought bravely and lost his life at battle ground after clearing the last bunker.
2. Captain Vikram Batra (Often referred to as “Sher Shah”)
Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Vikram Batra earned a place in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in 1996.
Vikram was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles at Sopore. But when the tension raised between India and Pakistan, he was immediately posted there.
It was the daring capture of the crucial peak pint 5140 during the war that brought Batra into the public attention. As the Captain and his Delta Company neared the peak, the enemy started firing from machine guns. However, under the Captain’s command, the troop managed to topple the enemy’s post. Captain Batra sustained severe injuries during the attack. He died on duty after being shot at. The nation honoured him with the Param Vir Chakra.
3. Manoj Kumar Pandey (Already predicted that he would win PVC on day)
It was Operation Vijay in which captain Manoj Kumar Pandey was an integral part in a series of boldly led attacks, forcing back the intruders with heavy losses in Batalik including the capture of Jubar Top.
On the night of 3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective, it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Captain Pandey was tasked to clear the interfering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted, being in a vulnerable position. He quickly moved his platoon to an advantageous position under intense enemy fire, sent one section to clear the enemy positions from the right and himself proceeded to clear the enemy positions from the left.
There is an interesting and hard to believe fact about Manoj, during the Services Selection Board (SSB) interview, the interviewer asked him, "Why do you want to join the Army?" He immediately replied, "I want to win the Param Vir Chakra." True to his words, Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey did win the country's highest gallantry honour but posthumously.
4. Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav (youngest to be awarded the Param Vir Chakra.)
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Yogendra Singh Yadav is recorded as the youngest person to ever be awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
He was instrumental in capturing three bunkers on Tiger Hill. It was Yadav who took on the task of fixing the rope for soldiers to reach the top of the cliff, situated at a height of 16,500 feet. Even though he was repeatedly fired upon by machine guns and sustained wounds, he kept on and arrived at the top to kill four Pakistani soldiers and neutralize fire. He was awarded the highest military award of India, Param Vir Chakra for his bravery for his 4 July 1999 action during the Kargil War. Aged 19.
5. Rifleman Sanjay Kumar (Once a taxi driver)
Born in village Kalol Bakain in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh, Rifleman Kumar led a team with the aim of capturing Area Flat Top on the 4th of July, 1999. But once the troop reached on top, the enemy started firing from just 150 meters away. Kumar went ahead on his own and managed to kill three soldiers in hand combat. His platoon, inspired by his act of bravery, captured Area Flat Top.
Interestingly, his application was rejected three times before he was finally selected to join the army.
Prior to joining the army, he worked as a taxi driver in Delhi and he never thought that one day he would get an opportunity to serve his country in such a bravest way.
6. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari
When heavy combat broke out in the Kargil region of the terror prone Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir owing to planned infiltration by militants backed by the Pakistan army, the Indian Army was ordered to clear the heights of those intruders.
Many tough battles took place in the region. The Mechanized Infantry's Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, the second army officer to die in the operations against infiltrators, had caused heavy casualties to the intruders and forced them to withdraw before succumbing to injuries in Drass sector. It was one of the most significant battles, the Battle of Tololing, where Rajesh made a valiant sacrifice.
He was posthumously awarded the second highest Indian military honour, the Maha Vir Chakra for bravery on the battlefield.
7. Major Mariappan Saravanan (Hero of Batalik)
Major Mariappan Saravanan is possibly the first officer to fall in the Kargil conflict. He was an officer in the prestigious Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army. He was Martyred in hand to hand combat with intruders after killing four intruders in the Batalik area of Kargil Sector on 29 May 1999, along with 33 soldiers and four other officers.
His actions have led to him being referred to as the "Hero of Batalik".